Two very distinct dry stone events are happening here in Ontario this weekend. One is at the
Willowbank School of Restoration Arts near Queenston, in the Niagara region; the other involves the Dry Stone Walling Association of Canada and the community of Amherst Island, east of Kingston.
At the Niagara event, a number of British and Canadian wallers are finishing work on a new dry stone structure which will be used by the school as a blacksmith shop. It is a great opportunity to work with a number senior British wallers .
On Amherst Island, homeowners and community members are learning traditional Canadian walling as they repair and rebuild sections of the historic dry stone walls on the island using local found material under the instruction of professional Canadian wallers.
The Amherst restoration workshop involves community members and local land owners using only the stone gathered nearby They are not shaping any of the stones. Many of the students are driven to participate in this event by a desire to learn how to restore and maintain important ( and increasingly rare) pieces of Canadian history.
It is thought that these heritage walls were originally built as livestock enclosures and boundary demarcation as much as 170 years ago, an integral part of the vibrant local economy.
I think it is remarkable to have two high quality though very different events taking place within a few hours of one another.